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Traverse City, MI: Museum becomes Certified Autism Center; city to follow

Updated: Jan 26

Jan 24, 2024, Ein News: The Dennos Museum Center Enhances Accessibility Measures and Becomes a Certified Autism Center™

The Dennos Museum Center receives autism training to equip staff with the resources and best practices for assisting autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors

We applaud their efforts to offer a more inclusive experience for all their guests and recognize the great impact this certification has on helping Traverse City reach its goal of becoming a CAD.”

— Myron Pincomb, Board Chairman of IBCCES

 The Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College receives autism training from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) and becomes a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC). This designation is awarded to organizations who complete a comprehensive training and certification program to equip their staff with the resources and understanding of the best practices for assisting autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors. This effort is part of a larger initiative championed by Traverse City Tourism to help the city become a Certified Autism Destination™ (CAD), which is awarded to cities that offer a variety of trained and certified recreation, entertainment and lodging options.

"At the Dennos Museum Center, we believe that every individual should have the opportunity to explore and engage with arts and culture. Our pursuit of this certification is an affirmation of our commitment to accessibility and fostering an inclusive community,” said Liz Celeste, Dennos Museum curator of education and exhibitions. “We want to ensure our staff and volunteers have knowledge, training and expertise to effectively support visitors with autism and to understand the unique ways the disorder can impact an individual experiencing the museum."

On top of IBCCES training, the Dennos Museum Center has several additional accessibility measures, including interactive exhibits, special inclusive programs and sensory-friendly tools. Four sets of noise-canceling headphones and fidgets are available for use in the museum. The center features multiple interactive exhibits that engage the senses in a safe environment, including large foam building blocks, an Everbright light board, a touch activated sound wall, a Recollections video installation room, an audio described mural of dinosaurs, a harp with laser "strings" and more. The Dennos Museum Center recently hosted a Halloween program, featuring a variety of fun activities with an emphasis on sensory sensitivity and accommodations to create an inclusive environment. The center provided descriptive maps of the activities, a designated quiet room and an audio describer to describe costumes, settings, and activities for those who are blind, have low vision or have a learning need that would benefit from a described experience.

“We’re excited to celebrate the Dennos Museum Centers’s accomplishment, and we look forward to seeing the impact that their accessibility offerings will have on both their guests and the community,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman. “We applaud their efforts to offer a more inclusive experience for all their guests and recognize the great impact this certification has on helping Traverse City reach its goal of becoming a CAD.”

IBCCES has been the leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education and corporate professionals around the globe for more than 20 years. IBCCES is the only global credentialing board providing travel and entertainment organizations with training and certification from subject-matter experts and autistic self-advocates, and other resources, as well as long-term support that helps them understand how to better accommodate and assist autistic or sensory-sensitive visitors and their families.

IBCCES also created, a free online resource for families that lists certified destinations and connects families to other resources and each other. Each destination listed on the site has met the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.


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